||2016-03-29 21:57:58, 조회 : 975, 추천 : 143
Adopted by God
The Family of God
Our earthly families bring much happiness as well as sorrow into our lives. Many people experience the warmth and support from loving families, however, many other people experience the opposite. Our family in God on the other hand, is quite different from our earthly families as our siblings are many in numbers and in this particular family, joy can always be found. This is because every believer that is a child of God and brother to Jesus Christ, is also brothers and sisters to us! Therefore, believers are the family of God. Today, we will explore how: the church is the family of God, baptism and ceremonies are considered family ceremonies and the church discipline is a family correction.
The church is presented in many different ways. For instance, we can be considered the people of God the Father, the body of Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit, God's flock, Christ's bride and much more. How is the church viewed through the lens of adoption? Apostle Paul answers this question in Ephesians, that the church is the family of God. As we learned in earlier chapters, we were once "children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3) and became the children of God. But not that we are in Jesus Christ, we have "access to the Father by one Spirit" (Eph. 2:18). Furthermore, every citizen of God are "God's people and members of God's household" (Eph 19:20). It is wondrous that we who were once children of wrath are not a part of God's household. Therefore, Apostle Paul encourages us to imitate God as He loved His children and how Christ died because he too loved us. We are loved children that belong in a family with overfilling warmth and compassion.
Due to the fact that the church is the family of God, this should affect the life of the church. Families often resemble one another and is considered a unit. Likewise, God's family should embody the same. In Ephesians 4:4-6 states "There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Being a part of God's family connect us to the rest of His believers and thus creating unity.
Not only is our family large in numbers, it is also diverse. God's family extends all around the world and He deals with a variety of races. As family members of God, we should welcome any "tribe and language and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9). Additionally, being a part of this large and diverse family heals loneliness that plagues the hearts of many believers. Jesus Christ being our unique older Brother is able to "sympathize with our weaknesses" give us "grace to help us in our time of need" (Heb. 4:15-16).
In addition to being a part of God's family, we also participate in family ceremonies like Baptism and Communion. Baptism is a joyous celebration of one entering into God's family. Jesus' baptism gives us an example of what baptism is. It was God the Father that willed for Jesus' baptism and on that occasion, He stated "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17). While Jesus wasn't a former child of wrath that needed redemption, he was the Son of God that needed to become human in order to redeem us. This is similar to us, as God the Father also proclaims during our baptism that we are his sons and daughters. Galatians 3:26-27 states "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." Galatians teaches us that we come into adoption through faith in Christ and that adoption is connected with baptism. Being "clothed with Christ" means that we are in union with Christ through baptism. Apostle Paul emphasizes that our baptism brings us in union with Christ.
However, not everyone that is baptized will be saved. Many people have the misconception that the single act of baptism secures their position forever. There are millions of people that have been baptized, whereby in the Roman Catholic church or Christian church, yet do not know who God is. Baptism is the initiation of becoming God's children, in doing so, we must know Him and the family we are coming into.
Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper is also a ceremony given to God's children. Viewing the Lord's supper through the lens of adoption, can be seen as a family fellowship meal. This can be shown by Paul's word when he noticed those that were abusing the Lord's Table. Some of the Corinthian church were "weak and sick, and a number of them had fallen asleep" (1Cor. 11:30). In order to address this, Paul writes to them "When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world" (1 Cor. 11:32). The Corinthians experienced God's discipline. When Paul writes about God's discipline for those that abused the Lord's Table, does so as a "paternal discipline." That's why in verse 33, it states "So, then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other." Belonging to the family of God is evident in the Lord's Supper. Jesus Christ gives and enables grace to help his people and his people benefits by treating the Lord's supper as a family meal. Both the Father and the Son is present during this time.
Church discipline is also recognized through the perspective of adoption as a family correction. Jesus uses the language "family of God" in order to instruct his disciples the need to practice discipline. Jesus explains reconciliation as God's will, when He states in Matthew 5:23-24, "If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." When Jesus instructs how to deal with offenses, he uses similar terms like "brother". He states "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over."
Looking at church's discipline through the notion of adoption can change the attitudes of many church members. We shouldn't act as stubborn and unruly children when receiving such discipline, but understand that elders may find some difficulties administering discipline. Likewise, the disciplinarians can also benefit from this view as it will help distinguish the true churches from the false ones. Such as, "the pure preaching of the Word, the proper administration of the ordinances, and the faithful exercise of church discipline." However, we must note that the abuse of discipline can often be found in some churches. We read sometimes, that discipline can sometimes be very harsh and "bruise the sheeps". To prevent this, the elders of the churches must come together in order to discuss such discipline cases and keep in their minds that they are correcting "members of God's family." In Galatians 6:1-2 tells us how to discipline, "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently... Carry each other's burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
In learning about how the church is the family of God, baptism and communion being a family ceremony and church's discipline reflecting family correction should allow us to adoption in a different light. Our brothers and sisters of Christ range in multitudes of numbers and types that our family has an abundance of love and warmth with God and Christ at the head of the table. In addition, baptism and communion allows us to partake in family ceremonies and receive God's discipline as children. Lastly, the church's discipline changes our views on correction from our family members and helps us to understand the importance of employing these practices.
1) How is the church, a family of God?
2) In way ways are baptism and communion a family ceremony?
3) What can we learn about church discipline? How does this change your perspective?
4) What does Apostle Paul mean when he says "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently... Carry each other's burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:1-2)